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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  December 8, 2014 3:30am-4:01am EST

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world's largest christmas tree is made up of more than 1,000 lights arranged on the site. more on our website. that's all of the headline stories and background too. that and more, straight ahead. >> you will meet a family who spent a year putting to the test deciding to live like it was 1986. rotary phones, paper maps and all. what they learned from forfeiting smart phones and wi-fi for more nostalgic living. the growing of house holmes choosing to go off of the grid. is big data watching you? how some are hiding their personal information from the trails and why it's harder than
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you might think. >> my digital producer and co-host bringing all your feedback throughout the conversation. a lot of people are pulled back for technology for environmental or political reasons. when you start realizing how easily we are all tracked, there is sort of a personal protection region you want to do it. >> asking me to go off of the grid, i lasted 13 minutes without my smartphone. i tried a second time, lasted 8 minutes. for today's show, i took it back to a letterman jacket, channelling tom cruise e. life without phone, amanda on facebook says, so life in hell, basically?
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and equimerican said we managed 10 years ago without smart phones. maybe two days. most impressive but i will end on a hopeful note. ravia said less about cell phones and more about being responsible. i would love to be able to take stewardship of a piece of land in my own life. i plus one that. >> so do i. it's no secret it has revolutionized how we live, love, interact and process information. but at what cost? as we become dependent on our smart phones and tab blessed more people ask if it's been to the detriment of a family lives, social skills and our intelligence. a spoken word video created by writer director gary turk went viral with more than 38 million views urging the online often. >> took a step back and opened my eyes. i looked around and realized this media we call social is anything but when we open our computers and it's our doors we shut.
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all of this technology we have, it's just an illusion. community companionship, a sense of inclusion, yet when you step away from this devisive delusion, you awaken to see a world of confusion. >> pretty soon, we may not even need to look down anymore. recent pew report on the future of digital life. by 2025, we will be one with the internet. one of the reports contributors said we won't think about going online on looking on the internet for something. we will just be online and just look. it also said that will fundamentally change what it means to be social. negligencer. >> how do we embrace rapidly changing technology without losing the very things that create the complex emotional human experience? could reaching back to simpler times for some things be the answer? today, we are joined by a great line-up of guests who unplugged in order to recharge.
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onset, joshua fields mil burn co-founder of the minimalist and author of the memoire, everything that remains. he blogs about simple living and goes for days without using the internet. out of toronto, canada, a family that may completed a year living without modern technology as if it were 1986. thank you for being here. blair, you and morgan are raising two young kids and one day your 5-year-old son passes up playing outside on a beautiful day and instead opts to be in the house on his tablet and that got you thinking. >> yeah. just started making me think about how different life was when i was a kid when you didn't face. >> so, how did you -- how did you approach morgan with this? and when you did, was she open to the idea of living like it was 1986 for a year? what would you do, gee, honey, let's pretend it's 25 years ago? >> iron i cancally, she was on a
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business trip and i sent her a text message and all i told her was, i thought of an idea that would be good for the family, but it's going to involve you putting away the ipad. what? no way. i am not really feeling that. but i will listen to it. and then now, we got a mullet and ended up here. >> so morgan, what convinced you to do it, and what was the adjustment like going back more than 25 years in time essentially? >> i guess it shows that i love him since i did it. no. when he first told me, i thought he was crazy. i wasn't sure about it but i would support him in what he wanted to do. when i thought about it, i said, we are not going to lose out on this. we will win either way in that we would do it. so in the beginning, i was a little stress case going up to it. and just knowing how much stuff i had to get rid of and i was just out for probably weeks but when we got the hang of it, it was all right.
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>> what did it do for your family? what did it do for your kids after you got over the initial shock? >> well, when we started the project, we moved in to a house that basically mirrored the '80s and we wanted today have our house basically be like the house i was raised in with your dinner table, no technology on the main floor. just you had your t.v. room in the basement sort of deal. and i think it forced our sons to play together a lot more. they weren't distracted as much. and it also helped me and morgan just help them out and be with them even more because we weren't distracted with our that. >> lisa, before the show, we were talking about how our job, sometimes we get so inundated with technology that it takes away from community actions. >> definitely, this enhances the loaf lowering the quantity, talking about going off of the grid, off
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technology and another tweet: it takes skills but that doesn't equate to inter personability. realtime connection actually enhances tweeting and social media. mullet. you look like a young christopher joachin. but social media, technology is >> yeah. >> we can't live without it. most of us comment. my job depends upon it. how can we use it responsibilitybly without disconnecting from the present moment and from people? >> i think it's important that you are talking about responsibility because with great power comes great responsibility. so figuring out how we can use these things more deliberately like a chain saw. if you buy a chain saw, you can use it to cut down a tree that's about to fall on your house or to hack somebody up, chain saw massacre style. it's how you use the technology, whether or not it's adding value to your life or whether or not it's adding to the noise. i found that i've gone long periods of time by removing
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things as a minimalist. i don't -- i don't think it's about deprivation but styles i will do a stoical experience to see how i can bring technology back in used in a more intentional way. >> josh, we see videos like that look-up video, 38 million views. obviously something is resonating with people. do you think people even today in 2014 feel conflicted about life? >> i think so. i think we are in a bit of a transition as you mentioned at the beginning of the show. we talk about how we are going to transition to being online is part of our life. but right now, we are in this moment where we are going from the way things were in noon 86 to the way things are now. and the question isn't should we live without technology? the question is, how can we use it more deliberately? give you an example. i went for a couple of months. i got rid of my smart phone all together. first you learn how few pay phones there are thighs days. so no phone at home whatsoever. but i learned a lot about my
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myself for those two months. i learned the smart phone was a great tool but i could use it different. i no longer needed facebook. yes need e-mail. i have music, gp. s that helps me get around, twitter on it because i enjoy doing a quick tweet every now and then. so it's about how does it add value to your life? and the cool think about technology is it's different for each of us. if something as a value to my well. >> blair, how has your year-long experience changed how you and morgan and your entire family view modern technology? >> i disagree with what josh sets. you want to decide how you want to use it. right now, we are just kind of in that stage he is talking about, deciding what we want to use and what we don't want to use. and ultimately, it's allowing us say. >> so even though your year-long experiment ended, you have
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chosen not to all at once go back to all of the technology? you are slowly integrating what you need? >> for us, the internet is a treat. we don't have the internet at our house yet, but we have been over to my brother-in-law's and my parents' house and we have used the internet. >> that's how we got our twitter account, but we haven't picked it up yet. we are stuck in the '80s. >> we love the hair. thank you for being on the show. coming up next, life completely off the grid. a fascinating couple from hawaii has lived independently of the power grid for more than 20s years in a homeworking entirely off solar energy. we talked them into getting back on the grid for just an hour to tell us why they did it. a bit later, hiding from companies who make billions collecting data about you. is it even possible to stay in the shadows? we will see you in two minutes.
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>> my name is elenor and for the last 25 years i was bernie madoff's secretary. >> an unimaginable story of betrayal. >> they lived this incredible life. it just never occurred to me that they were living on the dime of the clients. >> greed... >> bernie was stealing every nickel but he wasn't trading anything. >> ... and entitlement. >> you took my grandchildren's future away from them.
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as a communications professional, i can't live off of the grid nor would i want to. my interactions on social media have helped me network for my career but i can understand the allure of a tech-free lifestyle. teaching kids away from the digital distractions can strengthen family bonds. >> we believe back. we are discussing ways people are disconnecting. joining us out of hawaii, living off of the grid for more than 20 years and believe disconnecting made their family even more connected we are joined bynitialty nyhaus who stopped living after off of the grid after 15 years of doing so. she said this lifestyle has allowed her to live more comfortably. >> will and
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kalima, you went all out. what motivated you to go off of the grid? >> what we wanted to do was live in a way that was earth-friendly. because of that, we decided to find a way to generate our own electricity and to grow food and to create housing in a way so if the population of the planet lived in slarz ways that the planet would benefit and not be polluted and hurt. we did a process. in a sense, we are off of the grid, but the idea that we are disconnected, we decided to go for complete connection, so we are on the internet. we are -- we have electricity. we have washing machine and satellite t.v. what the difference for us is that we brought
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the grid and integrated it with nature and with the natural life, with growing food and being in nature. >> so, michelle, you know, there are two kinds of living off of the grid, the kind that will and khalima do where they are integrated in society but for environmental reasons and probably political reasons and the other kind where you move to a commune and you are completely off of the grid and the ladder is what you chose. what was that like for you? >> well, we were -- we were connected in a sense we were living in a geographically isolated place. we were 70 miles from the closest small regional airport, you know, probably 100 miles but. >> that would kill me. >> we were connected with our neighbors. we were connected with the people who live in a small town that we lived near, close
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to. but we were completely off of the grid in the sense that all of our power was produced by solar panels. and we still, similarly, we have internet. i could work as a journalist remotely. i traveled for reporting trips and, you know, we had some creature comforts. people are surprised to find out that we had hot water and that i could run my laptop and all of those things, but they were small things that we didn't have like a toaster, a dryer, things that used a lot of power. >> why did you revert back to a more traditional way of living? >> it wasn't really that we were grid. it was that where we could afford to buy land in an isolated place was disconnected from a larger community, and as i have a 5-year-old daughter, as she got older, it just was clear she would be much happier being within walking distance of her friends, things like that. so we had
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tried to create our own community, and in the end, found that we needed to plug into that larger community. >> michelle, so many of our members want to live the life you are living. scott says what do you miss most about life without so much technology? he said, peacefulness all caps letters. zamir is trying to live like you, getting there. i got rooftop solar and electronic visits but it's tough to be 100% off of the grid. >> he said i have deleted facebook three separate times instagram twice. this is my second twitter account. it's addicting. it feels like you are always missing out. kalima, i want to get you in the conversation. i am soft and chewy like peanut butter. if there was a horror movie and the electricity went out, i would die in the opening credits. how do you guide a guy like me? what are some practical steps?
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>> i think you have to integrate. i think you have to see how you can bring whatever the balance that you are missing back into your life and you have to do it in baby steps because humans don't like to change quickly most of the time. we are like dinosaurs. it takes a long time to get the message to our brain when we step into water. so the rising waters are forcing us to integrate this new way of life into our collective awareness and the internet is helping us to do that, as well. it's an incredibly valuable tool. but you are right. you can get trapped in it. my suggestion is to look for balance in your life. whatever it takes to balance it and try to stay there. a balance is elusive. so you are going to jump in and out. you are going to try things like the minimalist try to restrict certain things to see how that feels and then rebalance, but it's all about taking
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responsibility personally and collectively to integrate and to become more balanced. >> so, joshua, you lived off of the grid for four months at a cabin in montan at that? >> i moved in to a cabin in the middle of nowhere on the side of a mountain. there was one traffic light in 3700 square miles. i was inspired by walden's pond. i compare it to turning down the volume getting out into the middle of nor allowed me to figure out what was really important in my life. as i reintegrated -- it was a temporary experiment. i think it's something someone can do for a month, a summer, a week even. it's like a silence retreat. it was four months in a cabin. i most the most recent book i wrote there. and i found that unplugging allowed me to really just turn the volume all the way down so i could slowly turn it back up as i reintegrated myself into the real world. >> on a final note: how do you embrace rapidly changing
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technology without losing these things that make us human? relationships? >> the comment was spot on. you feel like you are missing out. here is the key, you are going to miss out. no matter what you do, you are going to be missing out on 99.9% of everything that's going on in the world. you have to be able to accept that and figure out what are the things that add value to your life. if it's twitter, that's great. if it's television, that's great. if it's living in the middle of nowhere and focusing on a small community, that's great, too. it's all about you individually. what's going to add value to your life? >> thanks to our guests, will and kalima, and others. we have talked about how living off the grid hez preserve the environment and your wallet and a lot of times your state of mind. what about your privacy? up next, meet the founder of a search engine that doesn't track your every month like google and others. we will see you in two minutes teach for america is supposed to educate poor children.
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>> schools where kids need grade teaching the most. >> can unprepared teachers make a difference? >> why are we sending them teachers with 5 weeks of training?
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welcome back. we are discussing contemporary ways individuals are opting out of modern technology and we turn to the way some concerned citizens aresponding to online personal data collection. joining us is niko sell of wicker, an app that self desstructions your text, pictures, audio from your phone and on skype from valley forge, gabe reyell wineberg, founder of duck duck go. thanks for being here. niko, first of all, i have to sunglasses? >> so far, there is no pictures of my eyes on google. trying to keep it that way as long as possible. >> is there something about the eye that allows you to be more identifying than the rest of your features? >> it's just trying to decrease your digital footprint in any way you can. >> that's one of the ways i have been successful so far. so, i try to keep it going. >> how did you become so hyper
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issues? >> i have had the honor to spend the last 15 years being educated by the best hackers in the world. i have been helping organize defcon and, you know, they have taught me that the nsa and what we are doing with snowden here is just the tip of the iceberg. mainstream. i now teach kids how to eavesdrop on your cell phone calls and listen, look at your text messages and turn on your inter facing camera on your smart phone or laptop or smart t.v., and people are doing these things very easily today. and i don't think most people realize what's going on. >> so, gabe bre yell, niko mentioned the nsa. your website traffic actually had an enormous jump after revelations that the nsa was tracking americans personal data. why do you think we saw this public? >> we always knew people didn't want to be tracked but they
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don't know what to do about it. so now, we are seeing, you know, you and other people highlighting the alternative, things that you can switch to with little or no sacrifice, to reduce your digital footprint. when people understand they can do that, a lot of people make the switch. >> niko and gabriel both have mentioned dictal footprint. we asked our community is it possible to have a zero sdict al footprint and they say it will send via pagein post. i will lay out crumbs. anything i do online, i assume it is in the public realm. niko. is it possible to have a zero digital footprint? facebook, someone tags me, four square people check me in. i can't control other people's behavior. should we try to achieve a zero digital footprint or should it be minimal? >> everyone on the show today
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has a dictal footprint of sorts, even if you are off of the grid, you are using the internet to get food and so it's not really about having zero did i knowal footprint and believing big brother telling you that resistance is futile. it's about being aware and controlling your digital footprint in all of the ways you choose work for your lifestyle. i personally choose to boycott facebook and i don't use any social network because if you read their privacy policies of facebook, twitter, wassapp, skype, on all of those services, you have to give up a free transferrable worldwide license to eternitity for anything you input into that service. >> what does that mean? >> a privacy policy should policy. >> nico, what search engine would you use? >> excuse me? >> what search engine do you use? i am curious? >> yeah, so i use google search engine and assume that
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everything on there is being tracked. one of the things i do there is feed it a lot of misinformation. i also use google maps because i don't see another way that works well for my lifestyle. so, i am aware of those two. i also use blacko on super privacy search when i do health searches because health searches especially are extremely valuable. there are thousands and thousands of lists out there being sold by data brokers, all of the time with lists of rape haven'tims, erectile sufferers, mental disorders, and these data brokers are collecting every little piece of information they can about you from search engines and social sites and all of the different things you do out there? >> gabe briefly, you started duck duck go. how is it different from the other ones nico just referenced? >> sure. so at duck duck go, like you mentioned, we are anonymous since we don't store any personal information. so our privacy policy is very
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strict in that regard. we also focus on an overall data search experience, in particular, instant answers about results. so when you go out and search, just generally, there is a site out there you are looking for that has the answer. so we made it our job through our community to pair searches with the right answer and put those in realtime for you. >> you know n europe, basically it allowed people to purge this week, lisa, their digital history. we asked the community should they be allowed to? he said it shouldn't replacecacious usage but as uses grows, they should ex pung their online past. gabriel, do you think they should be able to purge their online past? do you think that's doable. >> i agree with nico it's not a black or white thing. you should be trying to reduce your footprint whenever possible if that's easy for you. what's nice is that there are some simple things you can do that really gets you a lot of
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the way there without much sacrifice. you know, using duck duck go or private search engines is certainly one of those things. you can also install a few add-ons in your browsee that make you stay on encrypted connections a little more, that block third party trackers. they sound complicated but they are not. one or two downloads. once you do that, your foot print is reduced a ton. so, i am sure everyone here has noticed these ads, all of them around the internet. all of that is a result of all of this tracking. >> that's, a, annoying, and, b, you are getting charged higher prices around the internet. all of that can be lieutenants by a few simple measures. >> good advice from both of you. until next time, waj and i will see you online. ♪
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>> let's take a look at china. >> china overtakes us. america has to live with the china that exists.